Exploration Mission One Update

Conversation Date: 
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PT (3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET)

Planned for launch from Kennedy Spaceport in 2018, Exploration Mission-1 or EM-1, is the first integrated flight of the Space Launch System rocket (SLS) and the Orion spacecraft demonstrating our commitment and capability to extend human existence to deep space and is the critical next in our journey to deep space.  Join Mission Manager Mike Sarafin, as he shares how this first Proving Ground mission will extend our existence past low Earth orbit and beyond the Moon.

Note that there will be no presentation slides.  Instead, there is a 9 minute video animation of EM-1 which will be referenced in the talk, so please be sure to download it in advance (link below).  Also, we recommend you get a video player which will allow you to easily pause/play, and skip forwards and backwards.  You should definitely preview it on your own to make sure it plays properly.  If you need any technical assistance with the video, please email jnee@jpl.nasa.gov.

Mike SarafinSpeaker: Mike Sarafin currently serves as the Mission Manager for Exploration Mission One (EM-1) at NASA Headquarters.  In this role he assures all aspects of mission preparation, Certification of Flight, mission management, launch operations, flight operations and recovery operations are executed in a safe and efficient manner.  During the operations phase of EM-1, he will serve as the Mission Management Team chairman. Prior to assuming his current post, Mr. Sarafin served as a NASA Flight Director from 2005 to 2015.  As a Flight Director he was responsible for overall safety and success during mission operations while overseeing human spaceflight operations from Mission Control in Houston, TX.  During his tenure he led Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Exploration (Orion) mission operations, including the maiden test flight of an uncrewed Orion spacecraft on the EFT-1 mission.

See our publicly available update from 2016:  https://informal.jpl.nasa.gov/museum/Conversations/first-mission-proving-ground-and-step-closer-mars

Other SLS resourceshttps://informal.jpl.nasa.gov/museum/content/space-launch-system-videos

Questions after the telecon:  

  • Question: How big are the solar arrays the on the Service Module?  Answer‎: Each array is about 7 meters by 2 meters (or approximately 57 ft) long. There are 4 arrays total.  See the Service Module overview.
  • Question:  What happened to the infamous "SCE to Aux" switch? Answer:  There is no switch, because the system we are flying on EM missions (1 and beyond) is very different than was flown during Apollo. Three main points:
    1. Today we fly a "glass cockpit" that displays information to the astronauts on state of the art displays. There are very few dedicated switches as you can do almost everything through the display panels. The display panels are powered by a highly redundant and distributed power system. This is very different technology than the hard wired cockpit switches and lights that covered entire panels during Apollo. Also during Apollo some of the displays used discrete signal conditioners to take analog signals and convert them to a discrete indication (like a panel light going on or off). Those analog systems were largely fed by A/C current and A/C busses that were wired to redundant DC power bus systems using a converter. We no longer use analog systems or discrete signal conditioners to display information to the crew. Today we use digital systems that are powered via reliable DC power that is distributed and highly redundant. Digital systems barely existing in Apollo, in fact they were driving early digital capability, but still relied heavily on analog and A/C to DC power conversion all across the spacecraft. So the famous Apollo air-to-ground call was a swap from one A/C bus source to a redundant source (called Auxiliary B). Swapping to Aux B solved the problem for the Apollo 12 crew.
    2. We understand a great deal more today about triggered lightning and what causes it. We have Launch Commit Criteria that prohibit launch in conditions where triggered lightning is likely to occur. Similarly, our ability to model, forecast, observe and predict weather including lightning is much better today than in the 1960s and early 1970s.  
    3. For critical systems on the Orion spacecraft, we deliberately design them to handle lightning. Critical systems include the flight computers. 

This special Resource has been made available to all viewers.  Please note that (free) membership is required for full access to the Museum Alliance site; please visit Join Our Community to learn more.  

Presentation File:
Presentation File, 9 minute EM-1 Animation MP4 (418 MB)

Recording Files:
Transcript File:
Transcript PDF (221 KB)
Presentation File:
(417.58 MB)
(135.81 MB)